Histories, Territories and Laws of the Kitwancool

Second Edition, with a New Foreword by the Gitanyow Hereditary Chiefs

Table of contents

Foreword to the 2022 Edition
Part One: Histories of the Kitwancool
1. Historical Story of the Totem-Poles of the Clan of the Wolves, Gilt-Winth, of Kitwancool
2. Historical Story of the Nee-Gamks Totem-Pole Belonging to the Frog Clan
3. History of the Totem-Pole Ha-Ne-Lal-Gag (?Where the Raven Sleeps With Its Young?)
4. History of the Lands Belonging to Chief Neas-La-Ga-Naws (Mr. Fred Good), or the History of Mah-Ley and Ak-Gwen-Dasqu of the Wolf Clan.
5. History of the Wars with the Tse-Tsaut: How the Village of Git-An-Yow Became Kitwancool
Part Two: Territories of the Kitwancool
1. Territories of the Wolf Clan
2. Kitwancool Territories in General
3. Territories of Mah-Ley Group of The Wolf Clan
4. Territories of the Frog Clan
Part Three: Laws and Customs of the Kitwancool
1. Laws Concerning Territories
2. Chieftainship, Rank, and Power
3. Chief's Costume
4. Marriage
5. Naming of Children
6. Girls? Maturity, Boys? Maturity
7. Divorce, Widowhood
8. Cooking
1. List of Names in the House of Chief Neas-La-Ga-Naws
2. List of Names in the House of Chief Gwen-Nue


A new edition of the groundbreaking 1959 publication created in collaboration with the Gitanyow Hereditary Chiefs.

This beautiful new edition of the histories and laws of the Gitanyow (literally "people of the small/narrow place," once called the Kitwancool in settler accounts), as recounted to museum curator Wilson Duff in 1958, includes a new foreword by the Gitanyow Hereditary Chiefs while preserving the original text.

Until the mid-twentieth century, the village of Gitanyow (once Kitwancool) was only accessible to outsiders by trail. This inaccessibility of territory protected a deeply independent spirit and unique legal system, recorded here as part of an agreement that allowed for the removal of Gitanyow totem poles to the Royal BC Museum for preservation. The complete histories of the Gitanyow, told in their own words, were also translated and recorded here as part of the same agreement.

This publication not only captures the histories, territories and laws of the Gitanyow, but also a significant moment in time for settler-Indigenous relations, and the origin story for totem poles still standing at the Royal BC Museum today.